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Warner Bros. CEO Apologizes for ‘Mistakes’ Amid Sexual Impropriety Investigation

Embattled Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara apologized to staff on Friday following the publication of a report alleging that he helped a woman get auditions after they had engaged in a sexual relationship.

“I deeply regret that I have made mistakes in my personal life that have caused pain and embarrassment to the people I love the most,” Tsujihara wrote in a note to staff. “I also deeply regret that these personal actions have caused embarrassment to the company and to all of you. I realized some time ago you are right to expect more from me and I set a course to do better. That journey continues.”

Tsujihara’s position at the studio behind the Dark Knight and Harry Potter franchises is in question in the wake of a story in the Hollywood Reporter that claimed that Charlotte Kirk, an aspiring actress, had leveraged her extramarital affair with the executive to get readings with casting agents on the studio’s projects. Kirk denied that Tsujihara engaged in “inappropriate behavior” and, through an attorney, Tsujihara denied that he had any “direct role” in the hiring of Kirk on Warner releases such as “Ocean’s 8.” WarnerMedia, the studio’s parent company, is investigating the allegations of sexual misconduct. The story was seen as another example of a “casting couch” culture in Hollywood — one in which powerful men abuse their positions of influence in order to trade sex for access to career opportunities.

The Reporter story contained text messages between Tsujihara and Kirk that implied the married executive had been in a relationship with the actress — it also contained messages between Kirk and James Packer and Brett Ratner, the heads of RatPac Dune, a film financier that had a distribution and co-financing deal with Warner Bros. Tsujihara played a pivotal role in closing that pact and even before the Reporter published its story, his close relationship with the hard-partying Packer and Ratner raised eyebrows around the entertainment industry. In 2017, Ratner was accused of sexual harassment and assault by multiple women. RatPac’s deal with Warner Bros. ended in 2018.

Tsujihara has been seen on the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank, Calif., this week after the story was published. He has not been suspended while the investigation unfolds, but the report has had a seismic impact on employees at the company, many of whom are wondering if he will be forced out. In his note, Tsujihara said the investigation will be conducted by a third-party law firm.

“Please don’t let my mistakes become a distraction,” Tsujihara wrote. “It’s important that we all stay focused on our work — and part of that is creating a culture and company of which we can all be proud.”

The news that Tsujihara may have engaged in sexual misconduct came days after he received a promotion by WarnerMedia, one that gave him oversight of family and kids programming.

See the full letter to staff below.

Dear Colleagues,

By now, you’ve all seen the news reports from earlier this week.

I deeply regret that I have made mistakes in my personal life that have caused pain and embarrassment to the people I love the most. I also deeply regret that these personal actions have caused embarrassment to the company and to all of you. I realized some time ago you are right to expect more from me and I set a course to do better. That journey continues.

I am so proud of the great work you do every day. Together, we have built a company that is the gold standard in our industry. Warner Bros.’ culture is as important to our success as our business model. We need to continue the hard work we’ve done over the years to create a workplace where everyone feels included and heard. To that end, I’ve asked HR to make additional accommodations if anyone needs to talk.

Since WarnerMedia’s leadership became aware of details surrounding this situation some time ago, it has carefully reviewed the matter and handled appropriately, including having engaged a third-party law firm to conduct a series of inquiries. Following these most recent news reports, the company will again work with a third-party law firm to review the situation, and I will cooperate fully with this investigation.

Please don’t let my mistakes become a distraction. It’s important that we all stay focused on our work—and part of that is creating a culture and company of which we can all be proud. Thank you all for everything you do to make that happen every day.

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